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when do you replace an alpha rooster?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Gonda, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. Gonda

    Gonda Songster

    Nov 14, 2009
    I have a small flock of chickens, 11 hens and usually 2 roosters. The alpha rooster is a very nice RIR, about two and a half years old. The other rooster is a cochin, also a lovely gentleman. I know two is too many ideally for 11 hens, but I had more hens and eventually will have more, and I can't part with either of these two roosters. I have raised chicks, bred and hatched here, a few times now, and each time, I have to get rid of a rooster or two out of the new hatches. I'm in that predicament again. I have two 21 week roosters that need to go, and I have a buyer, but now I'm having second thoughts. The one young rooster has been my little buddy since the day I rescued him from the wrong side of the fence when he was a little chick. After I rescued him, he came up to me, pecked my hand, put his head against my hand, let me stroke him. Since then he flies up onto the roosting planks when I'm in the coop and stands near me, waiting for me to stroke him. He's also flying up, but not at me, just jumps up on the pail when I come in with hen scratch. And, this is one of the two that I now have to sell. And I'm having second thoughts.

    I have two questions: at what point do you start thinking about replacing an alpha rooster? Mr. Red is a wonderful guy, looks after the ladies and chicks well and is a perfect gentleman towards me. I don't want to replace him yet. But, I also don't want to get rid of this little buddy of mine. But, I can't keep both. My 2nd question then is: is this friendly little guy going to remain friendly, or is it going to be a problem when he gets older, if he's flying up now, sitting on the pail as I walk into the coop. Sitting up on the planks waiting for me is cute, and jumping up onto the pail is cute now too, but what will happen when he's older? Should I hang onto the old man? How long do you keep a healthy, active alpha rooster? When do you decide to replace him with a younger one? How do you decide which one to replace him with? I wonder how things would go in the flock if the alpha rooster was gone and a young upstart took his place.

    Should I keep this little guy that's bonded with me? I have no idea what kind of home he'll be going to. I don't dare to ask the buyer what he'll do with these two young roosters. What do people do with 21 week roosters? They're not great for meat at this stage anymore.

    One reason I decided to put the two young ones up for sale is that one or two hens seem to be getting a little fatigued. I've had one in a dog kennel in the coop for a few weeks and let her out last week and immediately, the two young roosters went at her, and she disappeared with her nose into a corner of the coop. So she's back in the kennel until the two roosters go.

    Any advice?

  2. emys

    emys Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    Your alpha is still doing his job, so no need to replace him yet.

    Sounds like you have a buyer for both your youngsters. My advice is let them go.
    1) Your hens are overly bred already - younger roosters will want to breed more than your current alpha.
    2) There is no telling what personality will stay with your little guy once he reaches full maturity, there are plenty of stories on here of friendly rooster chicks gone mean later on.
    3) Your second in command may not be OK with the little rooster you keep, and the flock pecking order could be upset for weeks or months.
  3. Gonda

    Gonda Songster

    Nov 14, 2009
    Your advice seems very sound, and that's what I'm looking for. So no room for sentimentality here. [​IMG] I know - I need to be tough in these decisions. I just hope that when the guy arrives to buy the little guy who became my friend that I'll have a good impression of him and will be able to hand him over without too much self-recrimination.
  4. vfem

    vfem Yoga...The Chicken Pose

    Aug 4, 2008
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    When he goes Alpha on me! I don't take kindly to being bossed around by a roo! [​IMG]

    (P.s. - My rooster's name is ALPHA.)
  5. Gonda

    Gonda Songster

    Nov 14, 2009
    My aunt is interested in having one of my young roosters but she can't take him until April. I've been trying to think of a way to keep the little guy, but it would mean keeping him separated from the hens for a few months, and that's not a good option as I don't have the space for that. This is a tough business, when you raise chicks and have to part with the roosters every time. I worried about this from the day that this little guy came up to me and said "thanks for rescuing me".
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Your Alpha rooster is a known quantity. The personality of "your little buddy" may change as he matures.
  7. Baralak

    Baralak Songster

    Well I think that he's your little buddy because he isn't the Alpha rooster... At his age he is already "mature" enough, but because he isn't the top dog, he doesn't have to act like that....

    I will be having the same problem soon, I have a little mixed roo (Sunshine, he's all white with about 3 Black Barred feathers in his tail feathers) that has done the same thing. I come out the back door and he's there waiting on me (7 weeks old flys very nicely out of the coop..lol) Follows me all around the yard, will hop in my lap, you know the song and dance. I am slowly working towards having pure breeds, with breeding pens, yet I want to have a back yard mix flock as well for mostly eggs for eating sale. I am getting hopefully soon an 8 week old BR Roo that has wonderful barring, to go with my two BR Pullets, I have 1 EE roo to go with my 2 EE Pullets, My friend is hatching out some SS and hopefully she will get an extra male to go with my 2 SS pullets. So you see where this is going..

    I have 9 BYCs which 3 of them are roos, so will have to get rid of 2 roos. The way things are going, Sunshine will be staying... We shall see how that lines up in a couple of months.

  8. Gonda

    Gonda Songster

    Nov 14, 2009
    ...you get to keep Sunshine... I haven't named my little friend, but he's the one that has to go. Why couldn't it have been a female that decided to bond with me? [​IMG] My biggest worry is that I won't like the guy who's expressed an interest in buying the two roosters. I don't want to ask what he's going to do with them. I keep hoping I'll hear him reassure me that they'll live long happy lives. I haven't heard him say anything like that yet.
  9. big medicine

    big medicine custom Brahmas

    Mar 6, 2009
    Something to consider is sometimes birds that have that close bond have a different view of the man / chicken relationship. Not sure if they think you are one of the chickens , or he is one of the peoples. But there may come a day when you are looked at as compitition, and without that, I don't know what to call it, distance, or maybe respect, they can turn into man fighters. So like what has been said ,I would stick with your old male, if you are happy with him, untill he starts to fail you fertillity or some other wise.
  10. justtoni44

    justtoni44 Songster

    Mar 13, 2010
    Something that I learned recently concerning my fear of letting things go is that
    there may very well be that special person out there who will provide a great home.
    I recently sold two buck goats 8 months old.
    My fear was that they would end up supper for someone..and I was angry wih myself for not having them castrated.
    I advertised on CL and went through the responses carefully.
    They went to a lady that could facilitate bucks.she loved the boys.she has goats to be bred.
    Her facility was nicer than mine [​IMG]

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